The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect is calling upon President-elect Donald Trump to apologize for comparing the United States to Nazi Germany.
Steven Goldstein, the executive director of the center, released a scathing statement on Wednesday saying the celebrity businessman’s comment was an insult to Americans and victims of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.
“It is a despicable insult to Holocaust survivors around the world and to the nation he is about to lead, that Donald Trump compares America to Nazi Germany,” Goldstein said. “The president-elect has denigrated our nation and its commitment to freedom on the eve of his inauguration. He must retract his tweet and apologize to survivors and to our entire nation.”
The Anne Frank Center is the U.S. chapter of a worldwide network of organizations dedicated to fighting prejudice and honoring Anne Frank’s diary and legacy. The Trump statement that provoked such a strong reaction was characteristically posted to Twitter.
“Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?” Trump wrote Wednesday morning.
Trump has frequently disparaged the U.S. intelligence community ever since top officials announced that Russia had launched a multilayered propaganda campaign to interfere with the U.S. presidential election and undermine Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
He decided to compare the U.S. to Nazi Germany the morning after BuzzFeed published a scandalous, unverified dossier purportedly compiled by a former U.K. intelligence agent who alleged that Moscow has compromising information on him. Trump vehemently denies the accusation. The BuzzFeed article followed a CNN report claiming that U.S. intelligence heads told Trump that Russian operatives indicated that they had compromising information about him. Russia and Trump both say this is not true.
Trump defended the tweet on Wednesday during a news conference in New York.
“I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. I think it’s a disgrace,” he said when asked about the tweet. “And I say that. And I say that. And that’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also took issue with Trump’s Nazi quip.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the chief executive of the ADL, said in a statement that the analogy was inappropriate and that it coarsens political discourse and diminishes the horrors of the Holocaust.
“There are legitimate questions on all sides regarding foreign influence in the 2016 presidential race,” he said. “But the United States has democratic elections, a free press, rule of law and a civil service — including our intelligence agencies — that is deeply loyal to the U.S. Constitution. These facts invalidate any analogies between America and totalitarian societies.”
Greenblatt went on to say that glib comparisons to Nazi Germany are offensive and trivialize the Holocaust, the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately 11 million people, including 6 million Jews.
“We have a long record of speaking out when both Democrats and Republicans engage in such overheated rhetoric,” he said. “It would be helpful for the president-elect to explain his intentions or apologize for the remark.”
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